Contracts & Commercial

SC reinstates raps vs Parojinog over Anomalous Building Contract

Date: 18 March 2019; Type: Legal News; Source: Philippines News Agency

MANILA, Mar 18 (PNA) - The Supreme Court (SC) reinstated the graft case against embattled Ozamiz City Vice Mayor Nova Princess E. Parojinog-Echavez in connection with irregularities in the contract for the renovation of the city’s multi-purpose building 10 years ago.

In a decision penned by Associate Justice Diosdado M. Peralta dated February 11 and released Monday, the SC reversed the Sandiganbayan’s 2017 ruling that dismissed the graft case against Echavez and her father, the late city mayor Reynaldo O. Parojinog, filed by the Office of the Ombudsman (OMB) in 2016.

Acting on an anonymous complaint filed in 2010 and the subsequent report of the Commission on Audit (COA), the Ombudsman charged the Parojinogs with graft, saying they had financial or pecuniary interest in the renovation of the multi-purpose building awarded in favor of the Parojinog & Sons Construction Company (PSCC).

Nova Princess was the managing partner in the said firm.

Acting on a motion of the Parojinogs, the anti-graft court then dismissed the case for violation of the accused’s constitutional right to speedy disposition of cases noting that it took the OMB a total of five years and 11 months to file the criminal case in court from the time it received the complaint.

The Office of the Special Prosecutor elevated the issue before the SC.

The SC, citing the provision in the Constitution, said that “all persons shall have the right to a speedy disposition of their cases before all judicial, quasi-judicial, or administrative bodies.”

In reversing the Sandiganbayan, the court pointed out however that the right is violated “only when the proceeding is attended by vexatious, capricious, and oppressive delays."

The SC said that “for the purpose of determining whether inordinate delay exists, a case is deemed to have commenced from the filing of the formal complaint and the subsequent conduct of the preliminary investigation.”

"The period devoted for fact-finding investigations before the filing of the formal complaint is not included in the determination of whether there has been inordinate delay,” the SC said, explaining that the period from the receipt of the anonymous complaint by the Office of the Ombudsman-Mindanao, on August 23, 2010, until December 7, 2014 should not be considered in the determination of the presence of inordinate delay.

“This is so because during this period, respondents were not yet exposed to adversarial proceedings, but only for the purpose of determining whether a formal complaint against them should be filed based on the result of the fact-finding investigation," it added.

The SC noted that the reckoning point to determine if there had been inordinate delay should start to run from the filing of the formal complaint with the Office of the Ombudsman-Mindanao, on December 8, 2014, up to the filing of the Information on November 23, 2016.

“Finally, we note that the Sandiganbayan granted respondents' motion to quash the Information on the ground that the facts did not constitute an offense, and since it dismissed the case due to the violation of respondents' right to a speedy disposition of cases, it did not order the amendment of the information as provided under Section 4, Rule 117 of the Rules of Court,” the High Court said.

The SC added that “if the motion to quash is based on an alleged defect of the complaint or information which can be cured by amendment, the court shall order that an amendment be made. If it is based on the ground that the facts charged do not constitute an offense, the prosecution shall be given by the court an opportunity to correct the defect by amendment."

The SC said that since the elder Mayor Parojinog had already died on July 30, 2019 the criminal information should only be filed against respondent Echavez.”

In July 2017, Nova Princess and sibling brother Reynaldo Jr., and several other persons were arrested when law enforcement agents served them search warrants for illegal possession of firearms and ammunition. The ensuing firefight left Parojinog Sr., his wife, and 14 others dead.

Notice: The Publishers of Asean LIP acknowledge the permission granted by the relevant official/ original source for the reproduction of the above/ attached materials. You shall not reproduce the above/ attached materials in whole or in part without the prior written consent of the Publishers and/or the original/ official source. Neither the Publishers nor the official/ original source will be liable for any loss, injury, claim, liability, or damage caused directly, indirectly or incidentally to errors in or omissions from the above/ attached materials. The Publishers and the official/ original source also disclaim and exclude all liabilities in respect of anything done or omitted to be done in reliance upon the whole or any part of the above/attached materials. The access to, and the use of, Asean LIP and contents herein are subject to the Terms of Use.

Get ASEAN LAW ALERT

Legal updates by e-mail. It's Free.

INDUSTRY UPDATES

Palace suspends Government Work for Holy Week Exodus

MANILA, Apr 17 (PNA) - Malacañang suspended work on Wednesday (April 17), 12 noon onwards, to allow government employees to travel to their respective regions in time for the observance of Maundy Thursday (April 18) and Good Friday (April 19).

Read More

INDUSTRY UPDATES

JBC asks Applicant to comment on Gadon Opposition

MANILA, Apr 16 (PNA) - The Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) has asked an applicant for a vacancy in the Court of Tax Appeals (CTA) to comment on an opposition to her appointment filed last month by senatorial candidate and lawyer, Lorenzo "Larry" Gadon.

Read More

INDUSTRY UPDATES

PCC approves Ayala-PHINMA Energy Deal

MANILA, Apr 15 (PNA) - The Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) has approved the acquisition of the majority stake in PHINMA Energy by Ayala Corporation’s power branch, AC Energy.

Read More

INDUSTRY UPDATES

8,254 Workers Re-employed after getting Assistance from ESO

KUALA LUMPUR, Apr 16 (Bernama) - A total of 8,254 unemployed workers have been re-employed after receiving assistance from the employment service officers (ESOs) since the Re-Employment Placement Programme for Employment Insurance System (EIS) commenced in August 2018.

Read More

INDUSTRY UPDATES

Two Indonesians fined RM100,000 for Possessing Illicit Cigarettes

KLANG, Apr 16 (Bernama) - Two Indonesian retail shop workers were fined RM100,000 by the Magistrate Court here today after pleading guilty to possessing 854 packs of illegal cigarettes of various brands valued at RM1,668.56.

Read More

INDUSTRY UPDATES

"Go to the Mosque, get Closer to God," Judge advises Robber

IPOH, Apr 16 (Bernama) - "Go to the mosque, get closer to God, be a good person and stop taking drugs," Sessions Court judge Azman Abu Hassan told a palm oil fruit collector.

Read More

INDUSTRY UPDATES

Fake News Bill: Law Society refutes Online Flak over Alleged Silence

Law Society president Gregory Vijayendran said that the organization will share their views over the draft Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act privately with policymakers, and has refuted online flak about its so-called "deafening silence".

Read More

INDUSTRY UPDATES

SC suspends Work in Courts for Holy Week

MANILA, Apr 15 (PNA) - The Supreme Court (SC) on Monday announced its modified work schedule for the Holy Week, starting with a half-day work on Wednesday.

Read More

INDUSTRY UPDATES

Fourth 'Justice Zone' opens in Pampanga

MANILA, Apr 13 (PNA) - The fourth Justice Zone in the country has been formally opened in Angeles, Pampanga by the Justice Sector Coordinating Council (JSCC).

Read More

INDUSTRY UPDATES

Indonesia Industrial Summit to be held on April 15-16

Jakarta, April 13 (ANTARA) - The Industry Ministry will organize the 2019 Indonesia Industrial Summit (IIS) themed "Implementation of Making Indonesia 4.0 Toward Top Ten Global Economies", in ICE BSD, Tangerang, Banten Province, on April 15 and 16.

Read More

INDUSTRY UPDATES

200 Lawyers gather in Kuala Lumpur for TerraLex

KUALA LUMPUR, Apr 13 (Bernama) - A total of 200 lawyers from 50 countries have gathered here for the TerraLex Global Meeting to discuss a wide variety of legal and economic issues impacting Malaysia.

Read More

INDUSTRY UPDATES

Chief Justice pens Touching Farewell to Colleagues

PUTRAJAYA, Apr 13 (Bernama) - "All I ask from you is to protect the judiciary no matter what others may say," said Tan Sri Richard Malanjum in his farewell message to the judges, officers and employees of the judiciary upon his retirement yesterday.

Read More

INDUSTRY UPDATES

Chief Justice Richard Malanjum retires

PUTRAJAYA, Apr 12 (Bernama) - Chief Justice Tan Sri Richard Malanjum retires today after serving 27 years in the judiciary.

Read More

INDUSTRY UPDATES

SC launches New Public-Friendly Website

BAGUIO CITY, Apr 11 (PNA) - Supreme Court Chief Justice Lucas Bersamin on Thursday launched the High Court's new and improved website, which includes a court locator directory for lower courts and an e-library of the tribunal's decisions and resolutions.

Read More

INDUSTRY UPDATES

Appointment of Suhakam Commissioner for Children to be announced this Month

KUALA LUMPUR, Apr 11 (Bernama) - The Legal Affairs Division in the Prime Minister's Department is expected to announce the appointment of a Suhakam (Human Rights Commission of Malaysia) commissioner for the portfolio of children this month.

Read More